Do you ever imagine hug a bear? The real one?
And put the bear in your lap?
So do I.
I never imagined that until 9th October 2016, and it happened.
When i was kid, i only could see bear behind the cage in the zoo. I use to visit Bandung zoo every morning until i reach primary school. My breakfast happened perfectly in the zoo while walking around and say hello to animals. Start from elephant cage, tiger cage, bear cage, and walking to the bird paradise, peacocks, passed snake kingdom, and ended in camel cage. My childhood was fulled of beautiful animal memories.
I didn't want to eat my breakfast in home. I wanted to eat my breakfast in the zoo. Yes, in the zoo. Bandung Zoo successfully changed the picky-me to everything-eat-me, my mom found i could munch everything in my mouth. From yellow rice, half boiled egg, boiled carrot, spinach, kailan, and all vegetables that i hate very much, So stubborn little me :)) My mom always buy one month ticket passed, so she didn't need to buy daily ticket. I can walk like a queen to the zoo every day, without do ticket checking. Every staff noticed me and always gave their best smile to me and mom.
So, it's like a dream come true when i got change to hug a bear in Bali.
Pod Chocolate has Elephant Camp, it's a home for 15 to 20 elephants and also 3 sunbears. The place located in Petang area.
How to Get There?
The location of Pod Chocolate is at Jalan Tukad Ayung, Desa Carang Sari, Petang, Bali.
They open from 9am to 4pm. The best time to visit is in the morning, around 10am after they had meals. Usually the bears will be in the good mood after breakfast time.
Since there's no public transportation to Petang Area, you only have choice:
1) Cheapest Way - Drive Motorbike Yourself
- Rent motorbike (around 50K-80K/day, depends on the condition and how good your bargain skill)
- And then, open Google Maps App, and type "Pod Chocolate Factory & Cafe", "Pod Petang", or "Bali Elephant Camp".
- Follow the route and enjoy your driving
2) Grab Car, or Uber Service
If you too lazy to drive yourself, i suggest to use online service apps like Grab Car or Uber. The driver will drive you there.
3) Convenience Way - Rent a Car (with or without driver)
Since the route is like 30 - 40km from South area, the most convenience way is to rent a car.
You can drive the car yourself, or rent car with driver. The cheapest car to rent is Karimun Wagon or Karimun Estillo, around 125K - 150K without driver.
How much the Entrance Fee Ticket?
The entrance fee to the park: 95K/person include cold chocolate, topped with brown and white chocolate (October 2016)
The ticket to hug bear: $10 or around 130K / person (October 2016)
So, the total cost when you want to hug bear: 95K + 130K = 225K/person.
The Pod also has making chocolate workshop (150K/person) and elephant ride (i'm very interested but the cost is very high, around $85K/adult).
You can check their price on their website also
They also sell some chocolate drinks with range 35-64K.
They have 3 sun bears (Helarctos Malayanus), named Hetin, Billy, and Ajip. Malayan sunbear's life span is around 25 years. Mr. Andre - the ranger, already work there for 11 years. They saved the sunbears from hunter and make the environment like the real wildlife. Their food also raw, like coconut or fruit. The ranger give the coconut, and the bear will open it with their nails. I met Hetin, a 4 years old female sun bear with 50kg weight.
Below is my questions that asked to Mr. Andre the ranger:
Me: What do these bears eat?
Mr Andre: "Their main food is fruit, like papaya, watermelon, banana. For snack, they also like our chocolate, honey, milk, and coconut."
Me: Do they take a bath?
Mr Andre: "Yes, they take a bath with water only without soap. If you come here again, let me know couple days before, you can participate of bathing with one of the bear"
Me: "Sure! Then i saved his number"
Me: What's your memorable experience?
Mr Andre: "The kids love rain. The kids love climb trees and stay upstairs. But, when big raining and lightning come, i will put them into safe area. They love to climb the trees and it's dangerous when the lightning comes. Especially Hetin, she got pen on her foot because of fighting with Billy. So i keep her far from lightning."
"Also, one day we found them robbed our chocolate factory. They're very smart, they climbed the wall and explore our chocolate factory. They had the best chocolate party ever", he added.
Some Tips from Me
1) Bring Cash
When i visit there on October 2016, they don't provide credit card machine or debit card machine. So better get some cash before visit here. The entrance fee will be paid at entrance gate to the security, so definitely have to paid cash.
2) Wear comfortable clothes.
3) Don't wear leather clothes or accessories.
I wear synthetic leather bracelet, and the smell of the bracelet distracted Hetin the bear.
She sniffed and tried to find the source of my bracelet smell. So, if you want to enjoy the quality time and make the bear calm, just do it.
4) Don't wear perfumed
Again, the bear is very sensitive to the smell. She also tried to find the perfumed smell as well :))
5) Bring another pant or shirt.
I got my pants wet on thigh area when she sat on my lap. So, maybe you'll find yourself wet also and want to change cloth.
6) Bring Your Friend
If you want to make memories in video or photograph from the start, you need to accompanied with friend to take picture of you. The ranger will focus and have eyes on the bear from the start. The bear will be eating and sit on your lap.
7) Don't Expect too Much.
Since they don't anesthetize the bears like other safari park, so they can't guarantee you can meet, hug, and feed the bear during your visit. After you buy the chocolate factory ticket and enter the area, you will know the mood of the bears. They rejected some visitors when the bears are not in the good mood. Because if they push them to meet human, they will feel annoyed and unhappy. The bears' mood is number one for them. It's good to know they live peacefully with good care and love, without being hunt by hunters.
So, do you want to meet the bears?